Myanmar 'building military bases on Rohingya villages'

13 March, 2018, 12:05 | Author: Kristen Mcgee
  • Burma 'builds military bases' on Rohingya razed villages, raising risk of further persecution for returning refugees

Earlier a report had emerged saying that Myanmar government was destroying Rohingya villages in the Rakhine state with the help of bulldozers in a bid to erase the pieces of evidence of mass atrocities conducted against the Muslim minority group of Rohingyas.

Zaw Htay, a government spokesman, rejected the claims, and said the government was not basing military forces in residential areas but that police stations were part of village construction plans.

In January, Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a two-year timeframe for the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees.

Delivering her report to the Council in Geneva, Lee said that to date accountability for the crimes committed in Rakhine State following 25 August 2017, and 9 October 2016, was elusive, adding that this must now be the focus of the worldwide community's efforts to bring long-lasting peace, stability and democratization to Myanmar.

Myanmar is reportedly "militarizing" Rakhine state and building up bases in former Rohingya neighborhoods, rights group Amnesty International said on Monday.

The UN has been blocked from investigating sites where thousands of Rohingya are believed to have been killed.

"Where there used to be Rohingya homes, markets and mosques, the authorities have now bulldozed them", Amnesty International senior crisis adviser Matt Wells told VOA.

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"This makes the voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees an even more distant prospect. No one wants to stay because they are afraid of more violence against them", said a 31-year-old man who fled to Bangladesh in January when the military erected a new fence and security post close to his village.

"I am becoming more convinced that the crimes committed following 9 October 2016 and 25 August 2017 bear the hallmarks of genocide and call in the strongest terms for accountability", said Yanghee Lee, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar.

"It was used to convey public messages but we know that the ultra-nationalist Buddhists have their own Facebooks and are really inciting a lot of violence and a lot of hatred against the Rohingya or other ethnic minorities", she said.

"Not only are their homes gone, but the new construction is entrenching the already dehumanizing discrimination they have faced in Myanmar", Hassan added.

Entire villages were burned to the ground a year ago as Burmese forces swept through Rakhine, killing and raping in a campaign the United Nations human rights chief called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

The UN has a detailed definition of genocide, which it describes as acts committed with an "intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group".


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